Friday, September 2, 2011

REVIEW: "Retribution" by Sherrilyn Kenyon

READ: August 2011
GENRE: Paranormal Romance-Vampires, Demons, Weres, Mythology, etc.
SETTING: Las Vegas, Nevada
SERIES: Dark Hunters #20
HERO: Jess "Sundown" Brady
HEROINE: Abigail Yager

OVERALL RANKING: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

I have been a fan of Kenyon's Dark Hunters for about 3 years now.  Due to the sheer among of books that are in this series, I have found favorites and some okay reads.  Retribution, which is Sundown's story, is one of those that are just okay.  I enjoyed the story and read it quickly, but I'm not sure whether it will be on the re-read list anytime soon.  Below is a list of what I liked and didn't like about Retribution.

What I Liked:

1. Jess "Sundown"
Dark Hunter fans first met Jess/Sundown in Dance with the Devil due to his friendship with that book's hero Zarek.  I was enraptured by Jess's attitude as well as his cowboy...yum!  Therefore, I was definitely excited to learn more about his story and see him get his HEF.  And let me say, Ms. Kenyon continues not to disappoint when it comes to her heroes.  All the men in this series are handsome and tortured which is right up my alley! 
In this book, we learn many details about the betrayal that led Jess to become a Dark-Hunter.  That prologue broke my heart while I read it.  Jess was so devastated by his best friend's betrayal that he was effected by the event for the rest of his immortal life.  As the reader, I could feel Jess's heartbreak, rage, and eventually acceptance and it made me teary-eyed.
I enjoyed seeing Jess's trademark sense of humor about the various situations he was involved with and how he did not let his past destroy his opportunity for happiness with Abby. 

2. Dark Hunter Creation Scene
One unique aspect that I found in this book was an extremely detailed scene that showed how Artemis creates her Dark Hunters.  I know we have seen glimpses from time to time in the series, but I can't remember any lengthy explanation of the exact details involved.  This provided another fascinating look into the mythology of the series!

3. Native American Mythology
As the Dark Hunter world prepares for some type of "end of the world situation, readers have been introduced to other aspects of the paranormal universe that, I'm hoping, will play an important role in the final battle.  In Retribution, we are provided alot of information about Native American mythology and their version of the apocalypse.  I have always loved reading about Native Americans and their unique cultures so this was fascinating for me.  I thought it was interesting how Ms. Kenyon took existing myths and put her own spin on them, just like she does for other mythologies.  Also, the apocalypse in this mythology was no joke and was slighty terrifying for me as a reader.  Can't wait to delve more into this type of universe!

4. Secondary and Returning Characters
The secondary and returning characters are some of my favorite parts of Kenyon's books.  We meet so many new people throughout the series that have some role to play in the bigger picture.  Two of my favorite "new" characters we met in Retribution are Andy, Jess's squire, and Renegade, Jess's friend.  Andy is a great character with Kenyon's trademark sarcastic humor.  He also provided a little brother-type relationship for Jess despite their age difference.  Renegade is a mysterious character who obviously has many layers which will, hopefully, be revealed in one of the next Dark Hunter's books Time Untime.  I also enjoyed seeing some of my favorite recurring characters who popped up at random times like Zarek, Talon, and Sasha.  I am pleading with Kenyon to please, please, please write Sasha's story soon!  His sense of humor mixed with his tragic past are too good to pass up! 

5. Extra Scene
After the conclusion of Retribution, Kenyon provided all Dark Hunter readers with a special treat.  We got an extra scene that showed the birth of Tory and Acheron's baby which was occuring simultaneously with Jess's storyline.  Now, I won't spoil anything about the sex of the baby or the details of the birth, but I will say that is was full of humor and fear and everything that is great about Acheron! 

What I Didn't Like:

1. Abigail
While I love Kenyon's heroes, I tend to have a little bit of a problem connecting with her heroines.  There are definitely some that I love like Tabitha from Seize the Night, Bride from Night Play, and Danger from Sins of the Night.  Unfortunately, Abigail is probably my least favorite Kenyon heroine.  While I understood her reasons behind wanting to kill Dark Hunters at the beginning, her constant flip-flopping from one opinion to another got annoying.  She was constantly questioning Jess and her trust in him despite all the times he had proven himself to her.  I just wanted to reach into the book and slap her silly for almost everything that came out of her mouth.  She is the main reason why this is not one of my favorite Dark Hunter stories. 

2. Love Scenes
Another thing that irked me about this book was the lack of sexual tension between Jess and Abigail.  Now, I understand this could be due to my dislike of Abigail, but I never felt it.  This was also evident in the fact that they only had one love scene!  I hope that I am not a complete pervert, but I like my love scenes if they are written well and timed right.  While the scene was enjoyable, I felt like something was missing.  I have read much sexier scenes from Kenyon so I was kind disappointed.

3. The Ending
Finally, while I enjoyed the Native American mythology, I found myself completely confused by Retribution's ending the first time I read it.  I had to re-read the last chapters a couple times to understand the relationships between the animal spirits and how the whole reincarnation thing.  I am hoping that Ren's book will provide me with a concrete understanding of the inner workings of this aspect of Kenyon's world without confusing me so much.


"Acheron always says that our scars are there to remind us of out pasts, of where we've been and what we've gone through. But that pain doesn't have to drive or determine our future. We can rise about it if we let ourselves. It's not easy, but nothing in life ever is."--Jess

"Got to say, dying would really wreck my best day. Been there, done that, and now that I think about it, Artemis forgot to give me the t-shirt." --Jess

"Wailing, he went to it and sank to his knees. He sprawled over the hood and laid his head on the damaged fender. "I'm so sorry, Bets. I should of hidden the keys. Booted your tires. Something. I had know idea anyone would hurt you so, baby. I swear I'll never let anyone hurt you again. Ayyy, how could they do this to you? How? Oh the humanity!" --Andy


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